*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE PILGRIMS OF NEW ENGLAND ***
THE PILGRIMS OF NEW ENGLAND:
A TALE OF THE EARLY AMERICAN SETTLERS.
MRS. J. B. WEBB, AUTHOR OF NAOMI, JULAMERK, ETC.
In the following story, an attempt has been made to illustrate the manners and habits of the earliest Puritan settlers in New England, and the trials and difficulties to which they were subjected during the first years of their residence in their adopted country. All the principal incidents that are woven into the narrative are strictly historical, and are derived from authentic sources, which give an impartial picture both of the virtues and the failings of these remarkable emigrants. Unhappily, some of these incidents prove but too clearly, how soon many of these exiles 'for conscience sake' forgot to practice those principles of religious liberty and toleration, for the preservation and enjoyment of which they had themselves abandoned home and kindred, and the church of their forefathers; and they tend to lessen the feelings of respect and admiration with which their piety, and their disinterested spirit, must necessarily inspire us. We cannot but regret to find how early, in many of the Puritan communities, that piety became tinged with fanaticism, and that free spirit degenerated into bigotry and intolerance in their treatment of others, who had an equal claim with themselves to a freedom of private judgement, and to the adoption or rejection of any peculiar forms or mode of discipline.
It is hoped, that a story founded on the history of these admirable, but sometimes misguided, men, may prove interesting to many who have hitherto been but slightly acquainted with the fate of their self- exiled countrymen; and may tend to remove the prejudice with which, in many minds, they are regarded: for, while we remember their errors and infirmities, we should also remember that their faults were essentially those of the age in which they lived, and the education they had received; while their virtues were derived from the pure faith that they possessed, and which was dearer to them than aught on earth beside.